The Circle
Walked Casually

28.11.2013 – 2.3.2014

  • With 132 works by 50 artists, the exhibition “The Circle Walked Casually” opens up a whole new perspective on international works on paper of the Deutsche Bank Collection from modernism to the present day.

    “The Circle Walked Casually” marks the beginning of a new series of exhibitions that enable visitors to experience the Deutsche Bank Collection with different eyes and recurring to diverse exhibition strategies and narratives. Renowned international guest curators are invited on a regular basis to develop thematic exhibitions at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle that feature innovative and experimental formats to provide a look at previously undiscovered aspects of the collection. On this occasion, we have invited Argentine curator Victoria
    Noorthoorn, who has focused on the Bank‘s collection of drawings and prints and has designed a new platform to approach the collection together with the Brazilian exhibition architect Daniela Thomas. The images appear to float in an open, seemingly endless space. On view are drawings of Classic Modernism by Joseph Albers, Hans Arp, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Vassily Kandinsky, Käthe Kollwitz, Oskar Schlemmer and Kurt Schwitters; drawings and prints of major historical figures of the post-war era such as Georg Baselitz, Louise Bourgeois, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Lucian Freud, and Richard Buckminster Fuller; and works by contemporary artists Erick Beltrán, Marina De Caro, Marlene Dumas, Jiří Kolář, David Koloane, Laura Lima, Anna Maria Maiolino, Gerhard Richter, Kara Walker and Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, among many others from around the world.

    In this exhibition, Victoria Noorthoorn is not only concerned with showing the broad range of masterpieces and new discoveries the Deutsche Bank Collection has to offer: “The Circle Walked Casually” follows the imagination of artists all around the globe while developing a discourse on image-making that intends to trust the power of images and to embrace their intrinsic, centrifugal excess. The works in the exhibition propose an imaginary narrative of images that develops through a dialogue between the drawings themselves.

    The viewer can follow this history like a meandering line through the show. Among the various ideas that generated this exhibition, the short story “Genealogy” by the Uruguayan author Felisberto Hernández (1902–1964) also inspired Noorthoorn to curate “The Circle Walked Casually.” In this story a circle and a triangle fall in love and take a trip along a horizontal line. This notion of an imaginary journey, of a kind of personal relationship developing between the diverse images in the collection, fed into the construction of the show: „How could a mere line, casually developing, unfolding, growing, speak of our contemporary existence as human beings, of our loneliness, introspection and need for love, of the twists and turns of art as it opens the door to continual movement, transformation and social change?“ This is one of the questions that Victoria Noorthoorn wishes to answer with this exhibition, one that dispenses with chronology, and that trusts, instead, the dynamics proposed by each of the pictures themselves as they hover in space.

    The cosmos that Daniela Thomas and her partner, the architect Felipe Tassara, put together for the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle was inspired, in part, by the exhibition installation that the famous architect Lina Bo Bardi designed for the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in the 1950s’: In the museum’s lightfilled modernist halls, she implemented glass shafts to make dozens of paintings float. Thomas‘s proposal also finds echoes in the groundbreaking modernist exhibition experiments, including the 1942 show “The First Papers of Surrealism” in New York, for which Marcel Duchamp spanned thousands of meters of string like a spider web connecting walls and pictures, to the point that it became impossible to move inside the space. On this occasion, Thomas’s presentation at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle finds inspiration in these and other predecessors yet enacts a statement of its own: The modular architecture, which deletes spatial references, knocks the viewer’s perception of distance and dimension to stage the works on view. In the connection between imagination, physical and intellectual experience, “The Circle Walked Casually” offers a unique perspective on one of the most important collections of drawing after 1945. At the same time, it helps us experience drawing with all our senses, and to understand it as a fundamental medium of contemporary art.

    Victoria Noorthoorn
    Curator of the exhibition
    Director, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires


    About the Exhibition Architecture

    Daniela Thomas, who lives in São Paulo, is considered to be one of the most creative stage and exhibition designers worldwide. Her work has been influenced by her proximity to the fine arts, particularly the Brazilian Neoconcretismo movement of the 1960s, in which artists like Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica combined geometric severity with a sensuousness in play, subjectivity, and expression.

    Together with her husband, the architect Felipe Tassara, Thomas has completed innumerable projects in Brazil, Europe, and Asia in which design, staging, architecture, and fine arts merge to create an entirely new form of exhibition design.

    For “A Circle Walked Casually,” Thomas and Tassara transform the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle into an open, virtually endless-seeming space in which the works of art appear to float. In the show, the viewer’s experience of the two main features of drawing—surface and line—is both intellectual and physical, as though he or she were moving within the abstract white expanse of an empty sheet of paper.

    The architecture is inspired by some of modernism’s pioneering exhibition experiments, among them the 1942 show “The First Papers of Surrealism” in New York and the exhibition installation that architect Lina Bo Bardi designed in the 1950s for the Museu de Arte de São Paulo.

    At the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, the pictures, which are suspended on wires that are nearly invisible, are grouped together to form an organic line that undulates throughout the space. Together, the individual drawings make up parts of a story or conversation rich in allusion that continues from image to image. Thomas’s orchestration has something surreal and somnambulant about it; it also feels starkly reduced. All the right angles in the space have been rounded off, and, like the overall exhibition architecture itself, have been made to practically disappear. Well-balanced scattered light removes almost all shadows from the space. The pictures never touch the wall, and the viewer’s perception of distance and spatiality begins to falter.


    All Photos: Jürgen Spiler


    Gerhard Richter, NO.Z., 8.5.84, 1984, © Gerhard Richter 2013


    The Circle Walked Casually! © DruckVerlag Kettler / Photo: Martin Url

    Program Archive